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Life imitating art

The scenes of social collapse in movies of a decade ago are now everyday scenes in allegedly democratic countries, writes Melissa Frost in this letter to The AIMN.

I watched the movie “Children of Men” again the other night and walked away with a renewed feeling of dread. A sinking feeling of doom came over me. Right in my chest. Had I just witnessed a glimpse of the future? Our future. Our future here on Earth. Was this how it ends? Are we imploding as a species? “No, no, no”, I said to myself. It can’t be, as I slipped onto the comfort of my massive mattress pulling the crisp European duvet over my head. But as I restlessly tossed around in bed that night I started to analyse what is happening here in Australia.

There are a lot of similarities between the movie and the ideology of our present government in Australia. We have a government that is anti-immigration, totalitarian and fascist. Refugees coming to our shores are classified as illegal immigrants, hunted down by our border patrols, made to sit on navy decks in neat little rows of confinement and then transferred to prisons where they spend an eternity of misery. These scenes we view hourly on the 24hour news channels we also see in the movie. A universal battleground of military control, security zones, refugee camps and warring tribal and religious identities.

The world of “Children of Men” is in absolute turmoil and anguish. The media are filled with headlines about religious fundamentalism – based terrorist attacks, mosques being put under surveillance, allegations of tortures of journalists, backlash against refugees and immigrants and political powerplays enveloped in pollution and poverty. The scenes of the two hour movie are a world of social collapse and desperation redolent of the hourly scenes on our screens of Iraq, Syria, Gaza or closer to home the 105,000 homeless of Australia. Which brings me to the story of the residents of a luxury apartment block in the UK installing spikes outside “their” reception area to deter a somewhat sheltered slumber for the homeless of Southward, South London. Mark Hicks, a resident of the building, said it was a “very good idea” as he was seeing “drunk homeless people” in his doorway which is “not very nice at all and if it stops that, its great”.

Where has our humanity gone? Are we so desensitised to these hourly visions that our subconsciousness is now immune? Yes, yes I think we are. “Children of Men” is based in the UK and it is interesting that the film makers decided on the UK. The UK is one of the oldest democracies in the world. Democracy means a government by the people. That is all the people have a say in the running of their lives. So for Brits to witness their government developing fascist ideologies and terror-invoking methods is tyrannical and oppressive.

And this is exactly what is happening in Australia. We are witnessing a government led by Tony Abbott who is backed by conglomerates such as the Rinehart empire and the Murdoch empire thrusting 24 hour fascist ideology and terror-invoking commentary on the Australian people. Its time for Australians to read the signs and demand Democracy.

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27 comments

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  1. Blanik

    One has to wonder what have we done and where will it end?

  2. David Salomon

    It is really easy to get caught up in a feeling of doom and have to be mindful not to go there. On the other hand there is still a chance to turn around. When I think of the things that were marginal 30 or 40 years ago and accepted by mainstream now there is cause for staying positive.

  3. wildedianaDiana Wilde

    As a pensioner, mother and grandmother I totally agree with your post and demand a new democracy in this country. We are at present being run by conglomerates and their henchmen.

  4. marcy cannon

    as a pensioner , i have that same dread under the covers of a night, specially when i heard hockey saying why should a pensioner gather payments when they own their home outright

  5. June

    Melissa, you articulated my own fears and concerns, not just for Australia, for western society. I am not sufficiently “up” on current affairs in Europe, suffice to say the UK and USA reflect what is going on here. How did we come to be in this mess. I confess that until this government was elected I was politically
    apathetic, didn’t really take much notice to what was happening. Abbott and his chroniies have (thankfully) changed that for me personally. Social media tends more towards vilification of rival parties than presenting solutions or encouraging rational debate.The difficultly is finding non MSM – like this site – to read balanced and responsible reporting. I am now reading as much as I can form non MSM to understand the factual nature of what is going on (budget emergency, is a Medicare GP tax really necessary, is it necessary to deregulate uni fees etc WRC ad nauseum) rather than just basing opinions on my own admittedly more “left” ideals. As noted in another article on this site, our politicians need to move away from politicking and representing their own/ideological interests and start listening to and representing their constitutents. Murdoch needs to be muzzled and kept out of the political arena and journalists need to held accountable for misrepresenting facts. This government, and Abbott particularly, scares the day lights out of me. How much more damage can they do before the next election ?

  6. Blanik

    Yes, I’m a 75 year old age pensioner. Superannuation wasn’t transferable in my time. If you left your job, you were given what you paid in, less ‘book keeping. We relied on the pension. That’s the way it was.

    These fascists are just unbelievable.

  7. BarryTurner

    Please don’t give the nutters (abbott acolytes and the rabid right) ammunition to shoot down your arguments by your slipping into hyperbole. No one needs to hunt down asylum seekers. Their presence and whereabouts are known almost from when they set out. Rows of confinement? On a deck?
    Stick to facts. Facts will shoot down the ideologues and dogmatists.
    Colourful phrases are ok – calling Abbott a coprolite or Christopher Pyne a pouncing poodle is just being descriptive. And pretty factual anyway.

  8. Kaye Lee

    If only it were hyperbole. Scott Morrison says he wants to stop the boats so he can offer places to people who have been waiting in refugee camps…just like these people.

    False imprisonment claims heard in High Court over 157 Tamils held on boat for a month

    “We are talking about people who are seeking to come to Australia from a safe country of India and the suggestion that they are anything other than economic migrants here I think defies belief and credibility and the Australian government is just not going to put up with that,” Mr Morrison said.

    It is estimated that there are anywhere from 100,000 to over 160,000 Sri Lankan Tamils living in between 115 and 130 refugee camps in varying districts of the Tamil Nadu state of India.

    The state government of Tamil Nadu gives registered adult Sri Lankan refugees food subsidies and 800 rupees (about $16) a month.

    Although it is positive that the Indian Government gives the refugees some support and doesn’t appear to return them to Sri Lanka, it is clear that India is unwilling to offer Sri Lankan refugees permanent status or a long-term durable solution. Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka have no rights in India and no real prospects of acquiring them though citizenship.

    Stuck in the camps, Sri Lankan refugees have inadequate access to education, employment and are unable to own land.

    http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/22280/

    How dare they want a better life

  9. Loz

    This government needs to go and I for one will for the first time place the LNP as a last preference at the next election.

  10. diannaart

    This lurch towards fascism is not just happening in Australia.

  11. rangermike1

    It is easy to see where the quality of Governance has gone since Abbott was elected. One word for it “Down Hill”. I have never seen such a deplorable governance in my 48 Years of voting. This is THE WORST Govt. I have ever known. Tony, grab a hold of something else, (anything) rather than what is in your little budgie smugglers. You are an Idiot period.

  12. Blanik

    Sorry Barry. I thought that we had all articulated the fact that the elderly are worried. Silly old duffers aren’t we? Never mind now that you have pointed out our erroneous ways, ve vill obay in zer future,

  13. rangermike1

    I should not respond twice to one Blog, but I must this time. Joe Hockey says we will all live to 150 years old. Does that mean that this Liberal Party will still be around then ? My nightmare just became worse. A word of advice for Hockey Dockey, your lap band must have slipped from your tummy to your frontal cortex and damaged your brain.

  14. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Our civilisation – for lack of a better word – is reaching the decadent stage where self-interest is over-powering community values.

  15. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    I have just turned 79 and see no reason why I should not live to 100+ But I want to do so in a world that has compassion and humanity and we give according to our ability and receive according to our need.And I am not a religious nutter but an agnostic!

  16. Hype

    And this is exactly what is happening in Australia.

    No, it is not. What’s happening in this country is bad and needs addressing, but such comparisons (Iraq, Syria, Gaza) are an utter insult to people genuinely and seriously suffering in such places.

  17. lawrencewinder

    You are right to feel that dread…
    We are being taken back to the early Middle Ages…and quite deliberately by this mongrel government.

  18. John Kelly

    Nicely written, Melissa. I’ll take a look at the movie.

  19. olive

    It is very hard to not feel despair at the ignorant, uncaring complacency of the majority of our fellow country people in tolerating the return to the dark ages. Feel like disappearing to an island and not reading any more news.

  20. Blanik

    Good to know that, Hype. So what do we do, wait until we are to do, wait until the comparison fits? The old ‘thinking positive’ of decades ago has worn very, very thin and most people are feeling very, very despondent except the 41%s of course.

    And yes, Olive. A lot of us feel that way. You aren’t alone if it makes you feel a little better.

  21. Jexpat

    Children of Men was one of the more enjoyable and cinematically gratifying dystopias to come along in the last 20 years, though I found the allegory to be laid on a little thick.

    Those who liked the film (and like the genre) might try to hunt down an earlier cult classic with a similar sort of theme- but coarser and more irreverent.

    A Boy and his Dog.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072730/

  22. Harquebus

    Australia is already over populated. We should combat the oppressors and abusers of human rights that cause people to flee in boats.

  23. Harquebus

    It’s happening folks and coming here soon.

    “When police act like an occupying army”
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/When-police-act-like-an-oc-by-Bob-Gaydos-Army_Congress_Demonstrations_Militarization-140925-799.html

    http://www.infowars.com/rand-paul-slams-stupid-militarization-of-police/

    “David Crowley had been the lead screenwriter for the movie Gray State which depicts a violent police state in post-crisis America as people reject government policy en masse in frustration over economic collapse and the breakdown of society”
    http://wtfrly.com/2015/01/19/writer-family-fema-camp-movie-gray-state-dead-in-murder-suicide/

  24. ops2048

    How can this author possibly claim that .au has an anti-immigration policy when the bi-partisan political consensus is flooding .au with over 200,000 immigrants each and every year.

  25. Jexpat

    ops:

    Are all of the 190,000 places in the skilled and family Migration Programme filled? And are the visas permanent? I don’t know the answer to that. I’m assuming that the 13,750 Humanitarian ones are, but the fact sheets don’t include those figures.

    http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/20planning.htm

    At any rate, they key ffigure is net overseas migration, which takes into account the 91,737 people, including 43,423 Australia-born people, who leave Australia permanently in 2012-2013 and other years.

    https://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/05emigration.htm

  26. dicehex

    “We should combat the oppressors and abusers of human rights that cause people to flee in boats.” – Harquebus

    So, we should “combat” NATO too then?
    We engage in illegal wars which create refugees. “Our side” abuses human rights as a matter of routine.

  27. Melissa Frost

    I wrote this 4 and a half years ago. It’s becoming factual . Trumps detention camp scenes on the Mexican border.

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